In an interview published in today’s L’Équipe, Lens striker Loïs Openda discussed his recent spell of good form ahead of his team’s match against Coupe de France winners Toulouse tonight. After beating Monaco 3-0 last week – Openda being involved in all three goals – Franck Haise’s men can go up to within six points of leaders PSG, and one away from Champions League spot rivals Marseille.
The 23-year-old, who arrived last summer from Club Brugge after a two-year loan spell at Vitesse Arnhem, is spearheading the Artois side’s charge up the league table with 17 goals so far. The Belgian international’s performances notably saw him named Ligue 1’s player of the month for March.
Openda, though, believes he’s only just getting started: “I know very well that I’m capable of doing better than this. It’s only part of my qualities. With experience, I’ll be able to show other parts to my game. But obviously it’s not bad. I’m not forgetting that not too long ago, I was starting out as a professional in Bruges. It wasn’t exceptional, I wasn’t an undisputed starter. I started to stand out in The Netherlands, where I showed what I was capable of. At Lens, I’m really enjoying myself, with my teammates’ help.”
He adds that he had set himself a target of at least 15 goals before the start of the season, given he was aware that the level of play in Ligue 1 is higher than in Belgium and The Netherlands. Now, Openda says, that target has been bumped up to 20, and could even increase. For the forward, his main areas of improvement this season have been the mental aspects of the game, his nutrition, and improving his conversion rate in front of goal.
When asked about his future, the striker was more evasive, insisting that he was disregarding rumours of a departure: “I know there’s a lot of noise. But I’m staying calm. I haven’t done all of this work just to get distracted. I like it, it’s a form of recognition. But I shouldn’t listen to what’s being said. I’ve kept my player of the month award for march in a cabinet. I’m under contract with Lens until 2027. I’m very happy here. I hope to write a page in the club’s history book and leave my mark.“
GFFN | Raphaël Jucobin